By World BEYOND War Canada, December 22, 2020
Our sustainable liveable futures are interconnected. Let us support all farm workers.
Around the globe, farmers and labourers have continued to tend the earth and grow food in difficult times of lockdown and armed conflict. Migrant workers in Ontario contracted COVID-19 at a rate 10 times higher than other people in Ontario. Increased labour injustice and unpaid wages are rooted in systems of racism and injustice.
Farmers in India are struggling for that same justice. They are protesting against laws that will open the sale and marketing of agricultural products outside the notified Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC). Farmers assert that the new legislation will drive down their products’ prices with no safeguards to protect them against corporate takeovers and exploitation, further devastating their livelihoods.
For the past 25 days 250,000 farmers from more than thirty unions from Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan (with support from others from Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and various parts of the country), have been braving the cold by blocking eight entry points into the nation’s capital.
In the spirit of solidarity, we in Canada must speak up in support of the march of 1,500 landless farm labourers and small farmers now joining the Farmers Protest in Delhi. This nonviolent protest march from Morena to Delhi is organized on the Gandhian principles of ‘satyagraha’ and is committed to stand up for the truth, be willing to sacrifice and total refusal to do harm to others.
Click here to start sending a letter to Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau and Indian Prime Minister Modi to demand that the government of India negotiate in good faith with these farmers and that the Canadian government play a positive role in urging India to do so.
There have been several meetings recently between the farmers and government negotiators but as of yet, no breakthrough is in sight. Now is an important moment for people from all over the world to put pressure on the Indian government to revoke the laws and reenact new legislation that meets the needs of farmers.
The farmer’s demands are now:
To convene a Special Session of Parliament to repeal the laws and make minimum
support price (MSP) and state procurement of crops a legal right.
– To give assurances that the conventional procurement system will remain.
– To implement the Swaminathan Panel Report and peg the Minimum Support Price at
a least 50% more than weighted average cost of production.
– To cut diesel prices for agricultural use by 50%.
– To repeal the Commission on Air quality management and remove the punishment for
– To abolish the electricity ordinance of 2020 that interferes with state government’s
– To withdraw cases against farm leaders and release from detention.